"Doctors make the body healthy, tourism makes the mind healthy" May 5 at 24:15

One company that is making drastic efforts to improve the treatment of employees in rapid succession is Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park in Nagasaki, Kyushu.

In January, we announced an average wage increase of 1% for more than 1000,6 Group employees, and in April we announced that we would continue to raise wages by an average of 4% next year.

In addition, in order to increase the annual vacation by 6 days and create an environment where it is easy to take leave, we will implement "8 consecutive days of holidays" from January 1th ~ 9th next year.

There was President Katsuhiko Sakaguchi's "particular management philosophy."

(Nagasaki Bureau Reporter Mao Matsumoto)

Doctors make the body healthy Tourism makes the mind healthy

President Katsuhiko Sakaguchi is 68 years old.

In 2019, he became the president of Huis Ten Bosch, but he was not originally from the tourism industry.

After serving as General Manager of Unicharm, a major consumer goods company, and Vice President of a subsidiary in Taiwan, he moved to HIS, a major travel company that was the parent company of Huis Ten Bosch, and was sent as president.

President Sakaguchi does not like being called "President" and is called "Mr. Sakaguchi" within the company.

Since Sakaguchi became president, he has consistently greeted guests at the entrance of Huis Ten Bosch.

Katsuhiko Sakaguchi:
"Just as doctors make their bodies healthy, the tourism industry is a very important industry that makes the mind healthy, but due to the Corona disaster, it has been said that the tourism industry is unnecessary and non-urgent. Doctors don't say it's non-essential, so I felt very bad about why tourism is non-essential."

"Huis Ten Bosch is a place to relieve stress, and it is a place where customers come to Huis Ten Bosch to relieve their usual clinging, anxiety and stress."

Improving the treatment that I have always wanted to do

This year's spring struggle was the highest level of wage increase in 30 years.

Amid the record rise in prices, companies responded to the government's request.

However, Mr. Sakaguchi emphasizes that raising Huis Ten Bosch's wages is "something I have wanted to do for four years."

Katsuhiko Sakaguchi:
"Since I became president four years ago, I have wanted to raise the level of treatment even more, but I was unable to improve treatment during the period of large deficits due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the end, it was in time for the end of the pandemic, but I always wanted to improve treatment."

In September last year, Huis Ten Bosch's parent company was replaced by PAG, a Hong Kong investment company.

President Sakaguchi persuaded PAG to improve treatment in rapid succession.

What is the purpose of the drastic improvement in working conditions?

Mr. Sakaguchi says that the motivation of employees to "work with pride" was due to the "low level of treatment" that put the brakes on them.

Katsuhiko Sakaguchi:
"The most important thing is to foster a desire to do valuable work, to work with satisfaction, and to do a job that families can be proud of, rather than working because others tell them to do it.

Closed for four consecutive days for the first time since opening

Even so, I have never heard of a case where tourist facilities are closed for "four consecutive days" at the beginning of the year.

When I asked him if it was a decision he had made after a lot of hard work, he got a surprising response.

Katsuhiko Sakaguchi:
"I couldn't help but want to do it myself, and I thought that if I implemented it, the employees would be happy and trust the company."

"On the other hand, for me, it's a 'backwater team,' and if I make a presentation and create a situation where I have to do something, and if my performance does not improve even if I do it, the parent company (PAG) will not approve of it. I am confident that even if I take a four-day break, I will definitely be able to achieve results."

The improvement of compensation that Mr. Sakaguchi has been working on is one of the pillars of Huis Ten Bosch's medium-term management plan to be formulated by September.

As competition for tourism human resources intensifies in the post-corona era, we plan to retain excellent human resources and significantly increase recruitment.

We believe that this improvement in treatment will lead to improved service to customers, increase the competitiveness of the company, and ultimately realize high profits.

Mr. Sakaguchi's confidence is supported by the initiatives he has been promoting over the past three years during the Corona disaster.

He repeatedly trained 9 employees in management positions and continued to convey the importance of "working with satisfaction."

The stage of human resource development is almost complete, and improving treatment is positioned as the "final touch".

Katsuhiko Sakaguchi
: "We have completely rebuilt our personnel system, and once we have laid the groundwork for growth, we are sure that things will be in the right direction in the future. That's why we need to remove the brakes (low treatment) that hinder employee motivation. It's like, 'Trust me.'"

What are you talking about?

Mr. Sakaguchi passionately talks about the ideals of management philosophy.

Even so, when he first became president of Huis Ten Bosch four years ago, he was often viewed with frosty eyes within the company.

Katsuhiko Sakaguchi:
"When I say, 'What is the purpose of a company?' it means 'it is there to make both customers and the staff who work there' happy.' When I say this, most people laugh at me. 'What are you talking about?'"

"I've been told for a long time, but I've had experiences in the past where that person performs better and is treated better that way."

What is the response to the improvement in treatment?

How do Huis Ten Bosch employees view this series of treatment improvements?

Since the wage increase will start in July, many employees say they are not yet feeling it.

Katsuhiko Sakaguchi:
"Employees haven't felt any improvement in their treatment yet, so it's like they haven't received it yet, but I think it will change dramatically if they do. I think all the brakes that discourage motivation will be gone and you will be able to push forward with your work."

The new corona has moved to Class 5, inbound tourism has revived, and the tourism industry is starting to regain its former bustle.

However, in the tourism industry, due to the outflow of many human resources due to the Corona disaster, we are facing the issue of securing and retaining human resources.

I wonder if Mr. Sakaguchi's bold challenge will bear fruit, saying, "I want to take the initiative in sending out reforms to increase the number of people returning to the tourism industry."

It can be said that it will be a touchstone for the entire tourism industry.

Nagasaki Bureau Reporter
Matsumoto Mayu
from Hokkaido
After working as a commercial broadcaster and other reporters, he has been covering the Nagasaki bureau
regional economy and remote islands since 2022.